Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 2: 1 Samuel 3-4

Great thoughts and comments on yesterday's post and readings. Continue to think through and prayerfully reflect about what you read and post your comments. The best way to discern what God may be speaking to you through these passages is to examine the parts that seem to resonate with you as you read them.

1 Samuel 3-4 (NLT)

* 1 Samuel 3 is great passage for finding encouragement. Samuel is "in training" under Eli and is being raised up as a prophet; however, when the Lord is trying to talk to Samuel he keeps running into Eli to see if he is calling for him. It is good to know that even a great Biblical figure like Samuel didn't always have it together with discerning God's voice. I believe God speaks to us quite frequently throughout our days, but we have a hard time deciphering that voice from all the other noise around us. The second key in the 1 Samuel 3 passage to me was that once he learned to discern God's voice, he obeyed it. Samuel spoke the words the Lord had given him. He became wise in everything he said and was helpful to all the people of Israel. This is the byproduct of obedience and doing as God speaks to us.

1 Samuel 4 is a dramatic scene. Eli's two sons die, the great and mighty Ark of the Covenant is captured, the Israelites are defeated badly in their battle with the Philistines, and then Eli falls backward from his seat and breaks his neck and dies upon receiving the news of the lost battle and his dead sons. Then Eli's daughter-in-law goes into early labor from stress of the day and she dies. Talk about a bad day! This chapter is the fulfillment of God's decree that the house of Eli would suffer because of their wickedness. It is a sober reminder that God will fulfill His promises. That means the blessings He promises, but also the punishment He promises.

At this point in the story the stage is set for Samuel to become the most influential prophet, if not person, in Israel. Tomorrow we will read about what happens as the Philistines have the Ark of the Covenant. What things stood out to you today?


  1. the thing that stood out to me is what you were talking about with Samuel hearing the Lord and thinking it was Eli who was calling for him. I feel exactly the same. Sometimes I don't realize God is speaking to me because i guess im not trying to listen. that is definetly something i should work on :)

  2. the thing that stood out to me is that God is a God of order. He had already taught Samuel to hear his voice and to look to Him for answers because when Samuel's time cam to "take over", all the props were gone. Eli was dead, he was no momma's boy,the Ark was gone,even the possibility of corrupt influence from Eli's sons was gone. Because Samuel had a relationship with God, he was not alone even in a time when it looked like God had forsaken the nation. That is an awesome thought. In my time of personal crisis, I have felt alone,forsaken by others and even God, but my faith was not placed in God like Samuel's was. It was put into what I saw and how I felt.
    Again to the order. Have to have a relationship first before you can have the faith.

  3. Austin, welcome to the club...we all have room for growth in that department


    Great are exactly right...He is all we need. Samuel could have panicked or felt completely insecure; however, he was first and foremost God's servant, not dependent on others for comfort. I wonder what kind of "props" we still lean on other than God today?

  4. In these verses, things are starting to get good, or bad if you are a part of Eli's family. I love the opening section because we see Samuel knowing about God(2:26) and growing in His favor, but not knowing God(3:7). He was being raised in the Temple, sleeping near the physical presence of God, but he did not know God. In verse seven, God reveals Himself to Samuel and finally there is someone that will listen and obey God. I don't think since Moses there had been a man of God for the nation like Samuel.

    You can also see the passing of the torch in many verses here. We see a blind (physically now, spiritually for some time) who has grown fat from eating the sacrifices belonging to God. Because of his lack of control of his house, the entire nation would suffer. In 3:3 it says, "Before the lamp of God had gone out, ..." The family in charge of being God's light to Israel will shortly all be dead and someone worthy will be tending the light. It kinda makes me think obedience is important.

    Can you imagine being a young Samuel delivering your first prophecy and it be that Eli and his family would be ruined? I am just constantly reminded that obedience no matter the difficulty, is a must. Also, knowing God proceeds everything. I think I vaguely remember hearing something about moving from believing to knowing recently. Eli believed, the Phillistines believed, but Samuel knew. that's where I pray my heart continues to be led.

  5. What a time for Israel. Wonder how Eli felt because "Visions were infrequent" There were not gone, but rare as the King James Version says.

    In a prophetic way Eli's weakened vision was parallel to the dim spiritual light that was cast over the Temple because of sin in their midst.

    Today's Church Community could learn alot about the reality of outright sin in their midst. It can dim the spiritual visions God is trying to birth in their midst.

    Is there hope when there is sin in the community of believers?

    Yes, God always has a voice in His Community.

    With Israel, He simply choose to speak to Samuel.

    Who will He speak to in our time? Perhaps He is speaking to all of us. Sin is a powerful tool of Satan to dim the visions that God wishes us to have.

    I am learning that when God calls, it is best to say.... Here, I am Lord.

  6. Chad,
    Your question of what it must have been like for Samuel to deliver his first prophecy to Eli about the coming destruction of his family is spot on. How in the world does the conversation sound in your head before having it? He chose in that moment to be obedient over pleasing people...

    I love your connection to Eli's weakening vision and the light of the Temple dimming...very neat way to see the emphasis the writer is trying to show us

  7. I found Ch. 3 to be an interesting irony of sorts...

    "visions were rare and so were messages from God"...

    My thoughts... then why Samuel?
    Was it due to his mother's giving of him back to God & her obedience? If so I find it sort of ironic that a mother's obedience brought about something great & then Eli's children's disobedience ultimately brought about something tragic....

    Ch. 4 - My take away:
    Like the Israelites hastingly taking the Ark into battle how many times do we rush into battle or situations or just choices in general but we use what God has given us in a wrongful manner and like the Israelites we forget to even ask if this is what God wants or is the way that God wants us to use it?

  8. Josh- good stuff on Chapter 3. We definitely see how a mothers obedience set Samuel on the right path, but ultimately he had to choose obedience. You have to think at some point Eli pointed his children in the right direction but they chose rebellion and power over obedience and you see where that got them.

    I can just see them showing up with the Ark thinking they would be the heroes which would mean more women for them. God saw things a bit differently huh? Goo point about the way we use God and assume His actions rather than allowing Him to move and obediently following along.

  9. Josh,
    I loved the point about their arrogance of taking the Ark into battle and they still got wiped out...just another reminder that the external things don't impress God, God judges the heart